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Exciting Craft Supplies for Textiles

Updated on July 23, 2014

Stuff I Love and Stuff I Want to Get my Hands On!

This lens came about because I found loads of craft supplies on Amazon that I want to get my hands on.

So much of this stuff just isn't available in the shops where I am (in the UK) and some of it isn't even on Amazon.co.uk.

If I was given unlimited funds and allowed on a craft supply rampage, this is the stuff I'd get!

Supplies

Model Magic

I'm desperate to get my hands on some Model Magic! I first heard about Model Magic in Raising the Surface a gorgeous textiles book by Maggie Grey (see below).

In Raising the Surface, Maggie Grey used Model Magic to make a series of fossil shapes which she later painted and sewed into a textiles background.

I find this so exciting - the possibilities of taking all sorts of impressions and adding new textures to textiles.

Crayola Model Magic, Primary Colors (Red/Yellow/Blue/White) 8 Ounce Packs (4 Count Bucket) No-Mess, Soft, Lightweight Modeling Material For Kids 4 & Up, Easy to Paint and Decorate, Air Dries Smooth
Crayola Model Magic, Primary Colors (Red/Yellow/Blue/White) 8 Ounce Packs (4 Count Bucket) No-Mess, Soft, Lightweight Modeling Material For Kids 4 & Up, Easy to Paint and Decorate, Air Dries Smooth

Model magic can be rolled out, moulded into different shapes, pressed into, painted and stitched through - making it perfect for adding islands of texture to your beautiful textiles pieces.

 

Raising the Surface

This is one of my most cherished textiles books - even though I don't have a lot of the materials mentioned in this book I've always been inspired by it and have found cheaper ways to create similar effects - something I love doing because you can find new techniques and processes that way.

Raising The Surface With Machine Embroidery
Raising The Surface With Machine Embroidery

This book is crammed full of gorgeous colour photos and includes examples made with Model Magic, wire form, glue gun, Angelina fibres, dissolvable paper, embossing, Tyvek and how all of those things can be used with machine embroidery.

 

Tyvek

I have had the opportunity to use Tyvek before.

In the image below you can see a piece I made using Tyvek paper - the paper was actually an old envelope as this is what Tyvek paper is primarily used for.

I would love to try the fabric as well one day to see if it works any differently or not.

Above: A detail of some painted, melted Tyvek sewn into a melted textiles piece.

Fuse Beads

I saw these the other day whilst making a lens about beads.

These are the little plastic beads that you insert onto grids and then shove them in the oven and they melt together.

I'd love to play with these again, but more than that, I want to see if I can create any cool effects by using the hot air gun or a soldering iron on them. I imagine they might release some toxic fumes that way - so be aware of the hazards!

Perler Fused Beads 11,000 Count, Multi-Color
Perler Fused Beads 11,000 Count, Multi-Color

11,000 beads in different colours.

I can't guarantee these beads would work the way I want them to - but even if they don't how fun to revisit that childhood craft!

 

Fusible Thread

I was looking for Grilon thread when I found this stuff - apparently it does the same job anyway.

This is another product I found in Maggie Grey's book Raising the Surface.

Fusible thread can be either stitched into your textiles pieces (probably best used on light-weight textiles, rather than heavily layered) or it can be used to make a grid to weave in and out of. With both methods it would be adviseable to use fusible thread in conjunction with water-soluble fabric.

For more information check out Raising the Surface.

Embossing Powder

I've never used embossing powder and I'm not entirely sure of how it works but I've heard that it can look beautiful on paper and fabric.

I've never been very good at applying colour to fabrics - I've always used fabrics as they are, in the colours they already come in - but I'd love to try playing about with adding coloured (especially metallic) bits to my textiles work.

Hampton Art Metal/Pearl Embossing Collection
Hampton Art Metal/Pearl Embossing Collection

Embossing powder can be stamped into place on fabric and paper or sprinkled on.

The powder is adhered to the background by melting it lightly with a heat tool. I imagine that ahot air gun on high might blast all of the powder away so it would be adviseable to get something a little gentler for the process if you don't have a low setting on your heat tool.

 

Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel

This stuff looks cool. Again, it's a product mention in Maggie Grey's book Raising the Surface.

I believe you use embossing enamel in conjunction with embossing powders. If in doubt, refer to Raising the Surface.

Embossing enamel is apparently difficult to use directly on fabric but can be applied to Vilene and then stitched onto your fabric afterwards.

In Raising the Surface there are some beautiful examples of how embossing enamel has been used to create areas of interest in a textiles piece.

Obviously, you will need some rubber stamps to press into the enamel, although maybe it's possible to press other objects into the enamel to create impressions.

Puff Paste

I love this stuff.

I used puff paste in college whilst working on some textiles samples for costumes. In fact, if it wasn't for puff paste then I never would have started playing about with melting fabrics in the first place.

Puff paste is heat reactive, so I was painting it in blobs onto one of my laytered textiles pieces. When the time came to heat the paste I got a little overzealous and ended up melted my way through my fabrics at the same time!

Permaset Aqua 1 Litre Puff Paste
Permaset Aqua 1 Litre Puff Paste

Puff paste can create different effects depending on how it's applied. You can create obvious puffed-up areas if you screen print it onto your fabrics.

I've applied it in blobs before and this creates some interesting popcorn or fungus effects!

Puff paste can also be applied with a knife edge or even smooshed into your fabrics for uneven effects.

I dry-brushed silver over my puff paste samples but they can be fully painted with fabric paints afterwards.

 
Water Angel
Water Angel

Above: Puff paste applied in blobs onto a textiles background and heated.

Vanishing Fabric

Vanishing Fabric is fabulous for making really delicate lacy fabrics.

You can usually get vanishing fabric in hot and cold water versions. I like to use the hot water version as it's slightly thicker and much less likely to melt if your hands start sweating!

Cold water vanishing fabric can be like stitching onto plastic bags depending on what type you get!

I've mainly used vanishing fabric with an embroidery hoop but apparently you can use it without one if you double it up.

Sulky 486-12 12-Inch by 9-Yard Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer Roll
Sulky 486-12 12-Inch by 9-Yard Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer Roll

This stuff is great for making delicate "floaty" lace-like textiles.

You can either just stitch interlocking stitches onto the vanishing fabric, or you can sandwich little pieces of fabric between two layers. Stitch it all together, melt the vanishing fabric off and you're left with a new pice of fabric made up from delicate little off-cuts. Perfect!

 

Above: Small scraps of fabrics interlocked with stitching - all created with vanishing fabric.

Water Soluble Paper

I've never used water-soluble paper before but the examples in Raising the Surface look yummy.

The benefit of water soluble paper over water soluble fabric is that the paper can be painted with resists which will stop the water from eating away at it - this gives you some great chances for creating fragile motifs - think about stamping resists in place.

Embroidery Thread

Embroidery thread is an absolute must!

I tend to go through a lot of thread so I like to buy in bulk! Unfortunately I don't always have the right colours to hand!

I'd love to have large quantities of embroidery thread and experiment with a lot more "drawing" with my sewing machine. I'd also love to play with stiffening and warping fabrics with really heavy stitching.

61 Spools Disney Embroidery Machine Thread PLUS Rack Organizer
61 Spools Disney Embroidery Machine Thread PLUS Rack Organizer

Wow! I would love to have this manyt embroidery threads all to myself!

It can be a nightmare trying to find the right threads for a project so it would be nice to have this many colours to hand on a nice stand!

 

Above: A detail of one of my textiles pieces which features a lot of machine embroidery.

Embroidery Floss

I would love to have a huge range of embroidery floss at my disposal, especially since I'm really limited with what my current sewing machine can produce.

At the moment I love making French knots and bullions and using them on my textiles pieces in place of beads.

The floss I'm using is some old odds and ends that my mother gave to me. They're kind of expensive to buy over here!

Iris 1265 105-Pack Embroidery Giant Floss Pack, 8m
Iris 1265 105-Pack Embroidery Giant Floss Pack, 8m

A great selection of colours at your disposal!

I love the idea of buying a big pack like this for starters and then adding more individual colours as time goes on.

 

French Knots

Above: Lots of French knots used in place of beads.

Tools

A New Sewing Machine

What I wouldn't give for a new machine that runs smoothly and can produce free motion embroidery.

Whether I can be trusted with a new sewing machine is another matter!

My last sewing machine died after I tried to force really thick textiles pieces through it, so I've had to go back to using a really old sewing machine.

Unfortunately this means I've not been able to produce any free motion embroidery for a long time but I'm getting by!

Singer CG590 Commercial Grade Sewing Machine
Singer CG590 Commercial Grade Sewing Machine

I've not tried this sewing machine myself but I like the sound and look of it - looks like it'll do a nice solid job!

 

Books

Moleskine Sketchbook

I've never used a Moleskine sketchbook before but eveytime they're mentioned I drool! I keep promising myself that I will get back into using a sketchbook daily but it never seems to happen. Maybe if I had the right book...

Layered, Tattered and Stitched: A Fabric Art Workshop

Whenever I see Ruth Rae's work I find myself drooling - she produces some really beautiful things.

I'm particularly in love with the little embroidered dresses she makes.

Layered, Tattered and Stitched: A Fabric Art Workshop
Layered, Tattered and Stitched: A Fabric Art Workshop

Books like this give you a wonderful opportunity to look at new styles and new ways of producing things.

I believe this book has a few projects that you can reproduce, as well as having lots of inspirational photography.

 

Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists

I often pore through this book in the book stores I frequent.

I really want to get back into keeping a proper sketchbook again - all I seem to be able to produce is the occasional cloth book and a notebook of scrappy doodles!

Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists
Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists

This book is full of creative ways for textiles and fibre people to keep a sketchbook - and not always using the traditional paper sketchbook either!

 

Connecting Art to Stitch

I love Sandra Meech's textiles work and judging by the preview on Amazon this book is just as yummy as Contemporary Quilts - a book from my own collection.

I believe this book is all about taking your art work and transforming it into stitch. I'm looking forward to having a nose through this book as Meech often includes images from her sketchbooks which are just as beautiful as her fabric work. Yum!

Connecting Art to Stitch
Connecting Art to Stitch

This is one of those textiles books that gets me excited even after a couple of pages. It looks like it's full of great colour pictures with some awesome ideas for creating beautiful textiles pieces.

 

Creative Quilts

I've flicked through this book a few times when I've come across it in book stores and I'd love to add it to the collection on my shelves.

I've got Sandra Meech's other quilt book - Contemporary Quilts - and it's one of my favourites for flicking through for ideas. Perhaps I should read that book more thoroughly before I get this one!

Creative Quilts: Inspiration, Texture & Stitch
Creative Quilts: Inspiration, Texture & Stitch

Warning! Sandra Meech's quilt books aren't aabout your traditonal patchwork quilts - meech's quilts are often made with experimental fabrics and materials.

She often uses photo-transfered images and plastics mixed iun with her fabrics.

These books are about creating art in fibre form.

 

Share Your Thoughts - Reader Feedback.

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    • Rachel Field profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Field 

      8 years ago

      @WildFacesGallery: Wow thank you! What a great comment :D

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 

      8 years ago from Iowa

      Oh look at all the goodies to try new and fantastic things with. Your creativity is astounding. You look at a bucket of plastic beads and see what it could be. I on the other hand only see what it is. :) So glad your sharing your ability to reimagine things.

    working

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